Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why Samsung rules Android !?




Following previous blog
which was very successful, Alexey asked me to publish this one as well:
Somewhere around October published Brian S Hall this article, you are welcomed to read it.
Alexey “Technologov” did an analysis after this pierce and here it is:



I have bought a Galaxy S3 few months ago, was absolutely stunned by it, so I went to learn Android from others.

Brian S Hall said:
Apple = Hardware + Software + Ecosystem.
And Samsung = Hardware.
This is WRONG!

Many people think that all Androids are equal, and this is a race to the bottom with cheapest vendor wins. This could not be farther from truth.
In reality: Samsung = Hardware + Software. (+small ecosystem inroads)
I decided to compare *software* in this article.
Here is the outcome:
Differences between Samsung Android 4.0 (i9300 Galaxy S-III) and vanilla Google Android 4.0 (Nexus or Chinese phones) are HUGE:
[in square brackets I put the bonus effect of a particular feature on total handset value]
killer features:
Samsung Smart Stay - phone looks at you, and does not shutdown screen as long as it detects your face. Killer feature! Worth at least +10% of total handset cost! [+10%]
Video Pop up play - lets me browse the web + see video clips same time!
In video clips, the main focus is music, not the video, so I focus on the Internet, while putting only half-eye on the video clip.
This is available on PCs since Windows 98, yet lacks on every other smartphone! Killer feature!  [+5%]
A long-long list of smaller "nice-to-have" features:
Each feature by itself doesn't change the picture, but combined together, they increase the value of Samsung Android products.

-Shortcut to screen brightness (this is imba simple to implement, very small, yet super-useful feature, as I tend to change screen brightness very often, and it is super-easy with the S3)
Why haven't Google done it ? Because Samsung UI team do better job of human user experience testing. This is why I value it so highly, and can easily justify another $20 on this feature alone. [+3%]
-Samsung gestures (screen-shot, double tap, etc...) [+3%]
(I can swipe my hand over Galaxy S3 screen, and it will take a screenshot ! This is imba cool)
-better icons (TouchWiz UI) [+3%]
-extra codecs: *.wma, *.wmv (I'm kind of shocked and surprised, that Sammy intervened so deeply in the O.S) [+3%]
-assistive Flashlight widget (this is much easier to use as widget, rather than other flashlight applications) [+1%]
-Much improved lock-screen with water effects [+1%]
-better Clock app: has smart alert (slowly increasing volume in morning, so I don't need a hammer to silence my phone), timer, stopper, world clock (multi-time zone). Everything integrated with one GUI. [+1%]
-Dropbox 50 GB for free for 2 years (cloud service) [+1%]
-S-Voice (cloud service) [+1%]
[Not yet valued features:]
-S Memo / S Note
-S Planner
-S Beam (NFC+Wi-Fi direct combo)
-AllShare cast (remote desktop/streaming) - with Samsung TV.
-Music Player and Video Player software in S3 are superior (made by Samsung)
Based on my rough estimation, I believe, that Samsung Android worth over at least +25% (perhaps +35%) more per device vs. non-Samsung Android of same hardware. (depending on the values you put on those individual Samsung Galaxy S3 features)
In other words, if the (hypothetical) Galaxy S3 comes with vanilla Google Android 4.0, I could pay like 3000 ils (Israeli Shekels) for it, but for the same hardware with Samsung Android 4.0, I could easily justify 3750 ils for it. This is the "Samsung premium" I would happily pay for their *software* alone.

At this rate, I expect Samsung to keep on improving software in Galaxy S4, and keep charging a premium over the other Android vendors.
My recommendation: If you don't believe me, just use the Galaxy S3 for a month, then try the vanilla Android for a few days. You will understand the difference very quickly. You will not want to go back.
Now let's compare true value, or so-called bang-for-the-buck:
Galaxy SIII 16 GB i9300 vs. Galaxy Nexus i9250
Price 3300 vs 2400 ils. (Israeli Shekels, Sep. 2012 from ksp.co.il)
+38% higher price.
Hardware: (value for me)
MicroSD slot +15% (I put 64 GB of extra storage, used for videos --
use case is to convert the S3 into an HDTV in my pocket and watch it in bus or parks)
Bigger Battery +5% (2100 vs 1750 mAh) (again, for traveling reasons, I take 3 batteries when on long travels. Probably would have to take 4 if I were using a Nexus.
Replacing the battery is just a 1 min inconvenience on my Galaxy S3. For normal work days the S3 battery is good enough, and I still have ~25% at the end of the day.)
CPU Quad-core +5% (potential of HEVC decoding, future-proof)
Camera (8mp vs.  5mp) +0% (I don't care, but other people might put a value on it) = +25%
Software, as mentioned earlier, worth at least another +25% premium for the S3.
S3 value is at least +50% higher than the Nexus ! (price only +38% higher)

Bottom line:
The Galaxy S3 is one of those rare gems, that even after huge marketing spending, it still delivers a great bang-for-the-buck, and I can easily justify the premium. And I rarely buy marketed computers.
Economics:
The actual material usage (BOM), bill-of-materials, and complexity, is probably close.
Producing the S3 hardware costs Sammy maybe +5% more over producing the Galaxy Nexus (my rough estimate is around $220 vs $210 per handset). But they can easily charge +50% extra for it. Easy profit.
Few words about HTC:
HTC lacks killer features of
Samsung in the software department: namely Smart Stay and Video Pop Up play.
Also HTC One X lacks both removable battery *and* removable storage (MicroSD), for me it is worth no more than the Nexus, maybe less. Indefinitely *much much* less than the Galaxy S3. I would be ready to pay between one-half to two-thirds for the One X, if I needed a new phone today, vs the S3 price.
One last note- Samsung Android 4.0 is better not only than Google Android 4.0, but also wins vs. Google Android 4.2, and on tables Samsung's advantage is even greater, due to the introduction of world’s first full-blown Window Manager for Android, allowing you to have multiple windows floating around, just like on MS Windows. Just look at Samsung Galaxy Tabs and you will understand what I mean.
I would love to read your thoughts about it…

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